It's that time of year again; time for holiday cheer and gratuitous spending. It's also the time for all manner of credit card security issues and ‘tis the season for buyers to be aware of the risks that surround them.

To help with that, iSheriff offers these tips on keeping your credit card details safe during this holiday season. Practice these safeguards and you'll be safe from fraud.

  1. Use your phone to pay when the option is available. Whether it is Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Samsung Pay, a new one-time use payment number is generated for each transaction. So even if the payment transaction is compromised, the one-time payment number for the transaction is useless in another transaction. Nothing is perfect, but this is one of the most secure methods of retail payment available to consumers today.
  2. Use the EVM chip on your card rather than the magnetic stripe when possible. While not as good as paying with your phone, that EVM chip generates transaction code that cannot be used again. It isn’t foolproof, but it does protect you against the common practice of skimming the data from the magnetic strip.
  3. If you are using a Visa or MasterCard debit card, always use the credit option when shopping. We have already seen cases where both the PIN numbers and the card numbers were stolen, allowing attackers direct access to download cash from ATMs. By using the credit card function instead of the debit methodology you decrease the risk of your PIN being compromised.
  4. If you are shopping online, use a one-time card number. Most banks and cards offer this as an option on their website and in their apps. This allows the consumer to generate a one-time use credit card number. If the retailer transaction is compromised, the attacker does not get the consumers card, they get a useless one-time transaction payment number.
  5. If you can avoid using your debit card, and opt for credit cards, do so. No one likes getting compromised, but dealing with a compromised account is a lot easier when it is a credit card rather than a debit card. A compromised debit card means that your checking account is empty and will probably remain empty until the fraud investigation is completed. This can sometimes take months to resolve. A compromised credit card means that you are filling fraud report with your bank and may not have access to the credit account for a while. One of them is frustrating. The other one can be financially devastating.
  6. Look at the payment card device. If something looks wrong, or a little off about it, trust your instincts. There are many methods that attackers can use for gaining payment card info, but one of the most common is manipulating the card reader device with something that captures the payment card info. So if it looks like the device has been tampered with, better safe than sorry.


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iSheriff is the leading provider of content and endpoint security from the cloud. We keep organizations and individuals safe from cybercrime, malware and digital threats. Thousands of businesses across a wide array of industries have deployed our solutions, including some of the most sophisticated buyers of security technology worldwide.